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So you want to become a Christian blogger, but you’re not sure how to begin? Start by reading my first post on blogging to get you started, peruse my other posts, and then keep your eye out for new ones because as I learn, I want to teach you.
Today, it’s all about what content managing system to use for your website and I’ve probably used them all. Lettered Roots originally started on Wix.com and eventually, I moved it all to WordPress.org. Here are 7 reasons why:
- It’s Popular- Wordpress is used by over 37 million people. One thing that’s important to understand is that there is a difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org. One difference is that WordPress.com has its own hosting which means you don’t have the freedom to decide where to host your site. This can be a negative when it comes to the speed at which your site runs, technical issues you experience, and support you may need. With a WordPress.org site, you choose your host. That means you decide how fast your site runs and you have the added support of a company who exists just to help your website run smoothly. If you’re going to treat your blog or website like a business, you need to invest it in by using WordPress.org and hosting your own site.
In my previous posts about blogging, I recommended these two hosts:
2. It’s Versatile- There are thousands of website themes, plug-ins and widgets from which to choose. What is a theme, what is a plug-in, and what is a widget? No worries. I had the same questions when I started my website.
Themes: A website theme is a design made with code that tells your website how it should be set up. It is similar to decorating a room in your house. It makes the experience for your reader much better because it helps everything flow and stay organized. Without a theme, you’re left with a blank slate that most of us don’t have the expertise to design unless you can write code. The theme I use for Lettered Roots is called the Swank theme by Pretty Darn Cute Designs. It is considered a child theme, which means you need a parent theme framework for it work properly.
A parent theme framework is a library of code that tells your website how to function. The purpose of it’s creation was to prevent any changes/updates from affecting the styling of your site. The styling then, is left to the child theme. You are able to make small tweaks to your theme without losing your framework, which would be disastrous. Styling and tweaking refers to heading design, colors, fonts, sizes, etc. I use Geneses as my parent framework. You can find it at Studiopress.com.
Plug-ins- Once you get a handle on not allowing WordPress to overwhelm you, you’ll quickly realize how awesome plug-ins are. A plug -in is a piece of software that can be added to a website to allow you to do things without having to write code to make it happen. They can add new features to your website or extend a current feature. There are plugins for everything from e-mail subscription forms to recent post carousels. If you can dream it, there’s probably a plug-in to help. Again, these are awesome for people who don’t know how to write code. Here’s a WordPress tutorial for beginners that may help explain more if you’re still needing some clarification.
Widgets- A widget area is a spot on your website that is used to drag and drop tiny blocks that perform a specific small function. They’re intended to make it simple for you to add extra functionality to your website. You can think of them similarly to Plug-ins, but on a much smaller scale. They are only added to widget areas like your sidebar. Examples include image widgets that allow you to add a picture to your sidebar, text widgets that allow you to input code for advertisements, and an About Me widget where you post your photo and a short blurb about you and your website. To use them though, your theme must include a widget area. They are not required to include one so if you want that, you’ll want to make sure it’s included in the theme you choose.
3. It’s Supportive- Because of the vast number of WordPress users, there is a huge community of people with tons of knowledge, experience, and tutorials to help with anything you can possibly think of when it comes to WordPress usability.
4. Freedom- Using WordPress.org gives you the freedom to do whatever you want. You can change, upload, delete, use any software you desire, etc. without the burden of complying with anybody else’s rules. This is a positive when running a business and wanting the freedom to run your page however your little heart desires. 🙂
5. It’s Free- Starting a blog business is one of the cheapest businesses to start. With not a lot of overhead and no brick and mortar bills to pay, it’s perfect for someone who doesn’t have a lot to put down. In fact, WordPress is absolutely free to use. All you have to pay for is hosting, which in itself is cheaper for an entire year than a tank of gas.
6. It’s SEO Friendly! What is SEO? You’re going to need to get really cozy with SEO because it’s the process for getting traffic organically to your website. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and WordPress, you guess it, has plug-ins that will help improve this to help get your website seen. The most popular plug-ins for SEO is Yoast SEO. It’s elementary, my dear blogger. Perfect for beginners. We’ll talk more about SEO later, but for now, just know that it’s an important element to getting traffic.
7. It’s Easy to Use– Once you can get past beginner’s shock, I promise, you’ll find that using WordPress.org is easy for even the newest blogger. Like using anything new, there’s going to be a short learning curve involved. You’re going to have to click on things and try things and ask questions, and Google answers until you become comfortable with using it. Once you do though, you’ll be running on autopilot.
The cool thing is, your host will help you set WordPress up. Siteground was amazing to me when I began blogging and had so many questions. They set up my WordPress account and got me up and running in less than 5 minutes. They will do the same for you!
After that, you just need to decide on a theme. Once you’ve chosen a theme, you’ll upload that theme into WordPress. If you’re a new blogger who has never started a website before, I highly recommend that you hire a designer. It’s worth avoiding the headache and it’s worth spending the money if you intend for your site to look professional. If you only need help on certain things such as logo design, I recommend using Fiverr.com. It’s a freelance marketplace where people offer services for around $5, depending on the task. There are people who will design a logo for you, create business cards, t-shirt design, photoshop editing, etc. You think it, they probably have someone to help you.
If you’re interested in more than just small items, I recommend that you hire a website designer. I used Mary through Pretty Darn Cute Designs, but there are a plethora of designers out there just waiting to work with you on a fantastic design that will leave you giddy with excitement.
You got this. You got this. I believe in you.
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